Interesting article by Enrique Krauze on AMLO, mayor of Mexico City and presidential candidate: Tropical Messiah: THE TROUBLING ROOTS OF MEXICO’S LÓPEZ OBRADOR (also avaiable here). Krauze explains AMLO’s rise from childhood bully to national political figure with Messianic expectations. Krauze states that the darkest aspect of López Obrador’s term is the way he used his concept of popular democracy to weaken the law.
López Obrador’s distrust of the law led to the nadir of his government’s performance. In 2002, President Vicente Fox pushed through a law of transparency that opened the workings of the federal government’s public accounts to any citizen and immediately became a useful tool for the press to reduce corruption. Many state governments enacted the same law, but the DF’s regime slowed it down and limited the idea, alleging that it was onerous. When amlo’s government was finally required to accept the law, it took its time finding office space for the new transparency organization. And, since the amlo regime did not like the appointed council, it modified the law so that it could dissolve the council and appoint another.
In May 2004, another judicial proceeding began to occupy the front pages and the evening news. The DF government refused to respect a court order issued by a judge to stop the construction of a road. This prompted the attorney general to request that López Obrador be deprived of the legal immunity that he enjoys as an elected official. To preempt the possibility that he would be subjected to trial, López Obrador went on the offensive, trying to pit the people–and himself as their representative–against the law. He declared that he would not employ attorneys, but would defend himself. He added that, as an admirer of the Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, he would prefer to go to jail rather than accept an order that he considered unjust. He declared that the judiciary was conniving with “dark forces,” and he said that he would reform it as soon as he reached the presidency.
Curiously, at the end of 2004, López Obrador had himself photographed with a copy of a biography of Thomas Aquinas, whose political thinking does not exactly include a doctrine of the separation of powers. In amlo’s organic vision of politics, which is disdainful of laws written by men and is deeply rooted in the political culture of Latino countries, popular sovereignty emanates from God toward the people. And who interprets the divine power for the people? The social leader who calls himself “the ray of hope” and whom others call el Peje.
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What is disturbing about López Obrador is not his social or economic program: Liberal opinion in Mexico can understand how a leftist democratic regime that is both responsible and modern could come to power. It is true that amlo’s program turns its back on the realities of the globalized world and includes extravagant plans and unattainable goals, but it also contains innovative ideas that are socially necessary. No, what is worrisome about López Obrador is López Obrador himself.
He does not represent a modern left; he represents an anti-modern left–the kind that is now stirring in many places in Latin America: radical and populist, and with a disturbing element of political messianism. “Here Andrés Manuel is like a belief. We ask for things for him when we are in church,” said one woman from a Pentecostal community during his tour through Tabasco. Mexico needs a messiah and lópez obrador has arrived, read one placard in Guelatao, Oaxaca. López Obrador has encouraged such expectations of himself, in the certainty that he can fulfill them.
The Mexican elections are held next July 2.
For now at least AMLO’s slightly ahead in the polls. Patrick Corcoran of Mexidata believes that Mexico Will Not Mirror Venezuela’s Leftist Revolt. Gustavo Coronel does a side-by-side comparison of Chavez and AMLO in his article Andres Manuel Chávez Frias or Hugo Rafael Lopez Obrador? Publius Pundit asks AMLO & CHAVEZ: 2 AMIGOS?
In real estate news, Investors from Mexico are snapping up San Antonio houses.